Weld is a Swedish startup building a browser-based design tool for websites and apps. The vision is to radically simplify app creation for everybody: “app creation as simple as drawing a slide in Keynote”.
By Vic Bassey
Welcome to the article about the startup Weld. Before you go any further, STING is the local hero and supporter and helped us bring this article to life though our local-support program. STING is the leading Swedish incubator that enables people to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. Hope you will enjoy the article.
Fast and responsive. Two keywords at the forefront of Welds search for creative autonomy. The company aims to fill the gap between programming and template-based tools such as WordPress, SquareSpace, and Tictail and has garnered a slowly growing fan base among designers and entrepreneurs since its humble origins in 2013.
Helmed by serial creator, Tom Söderlund and realized by a supportive team of seasoned startup professionals, the Stockholm based outfit remains on course to make software creation easier. I put a few questions to Tom Söderlund.
How did the concept and decision to develop Weld come about?
The idea of Weld came from my own struggling with web and app technologies for quick prototyping. When I started building web and mobile apps in 2006, I was really frustrated with the tools and processes involved just to build a simple proof of concept. Having a Visual Basic and Flash background, the notion of going back to plain coding just felt off.
So, for many years I was thinking about a simpler, visual tool for building apps and prototypes. But the problem felt too big and expensive to approach. But then in late 2013, I just decided to go for it, and instead of thinking about “if”, I started thinking about “how” I would approach the problem.
We started building the product in early 2014, and in August we shipped a closed beta of Weld v1, a wireframing and prototyping tool. Then in February 2015 we launched on Product Hunt. It was very successful, we got voted to 2nd place and had thousands of users streaming in. We then knew we were on to something.
The majority of the new users were entrepreneurs who wanted to prototype and build websites and mobile apps. The main difference with using Weld compared to WordPress or SquareSpace, is that you can create any design and user experience that you want – you’re not restricted by templates. Additionally, we have great support for mobile screens and responsive design.
What’s been the primary challenge trying to get the startup off the ground?
I would say that access to seed funding has been the biggest challenge. We have been successful in finding “soft money”, i.e. smaller loans and grants, but raising venture capital sub–1M Euro seems very challenging in Sweden.
Are there any Nordic based startups you collaborate with in your bid to get Weld into the hands of the masses?
Yes! First of all, we’re based at SUP46, and that has been great to us. We’re a small team, and without this community we would have felt very lonely. It’s so great to share your problems with fellow entrepreneurs.
And through SUP46, we’ve found other startups we can collaborate with. For instance, we’re using Mondido as our payment provider.
What are your long term aspirations for Weld?
We want to democratise programming and enable more people to create apps. Today, less than 0.5% can develop software and we want to change that. Imagine what the remaining 99.5% would be able to do!
This is a 30 billion dollar market with lots of room for innovation. There’s now 1 billion websites, growing almost 40% yearly. There’s 3 million apps on the app stores, growing 30% every year.
We want to build a global, fast-growing company, and at some point make an IPO. It will take time to change the way we create software, and we’re in it for the long haul.
Weld are currently looking to boost their numbers with new recruits and will be one of several tech startups that will be in attendance at Sting day 2015.